The Divided Line in The Confessions of Saint Augustine
“He who knows the truth, knows the light, and he who knows it knows eternity.” (171). Saint Augustine explains throughout The Confessions the challenges he faced in search for the divinity truth. The struggles and triumphs Saint Augustine conquered at each level of the Divided Line presented in Plato’s The Republic. In Book I of the Confessions, Augustine describes his early childhood as being deceitful. He emphasizes on the teachings of Greek literature, for example the tales of the gods written by Homer and the importance they had as an educational tool. Society had a different opinion as to what was consider important versus truthful. With the teachings of reading, speech and writing, a student could be influenced into holding public office. To “… succeed in this world and excel in those arts of speech which would serve to bring honor among men to gain deceitful riches” (51). Even though Augustine disliked reading, he was a clever student and was encouraged by the adults around him to pursue a career as a teacher of rhetoric, “…because for such things I was praised by men, to please whom was for me at that time to live a life of honor” (62). Which he did, because he feared to be punished and in result he became a talented liar by “… deceiving tutor and masters and parents out of love of play, desire to see frivolous shows, and restless hope of imitating the stage” (62). From an early age, Augustine is influence by his community to become a certain individual to be accepted in society. Comparing Augustine’s early childhood to the Cave Analogy in Book VII of The Republic, Inside a cave, there are prisoners chained to their necks and legs, as to which they cannot move or turn around to the opening of the cave. They face a wall inside the cave and above them is a fire that shines a light onto them. There is a road between the fire and the prisoners which “puppet showmen” carry figures and status...
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